Saturday, August 31, 2013

Motel Madness

On today's "Anything Goes Saturday" I am celebrating the humble motel. In the days that most of these photos were taken, even color TV was a selling point. Free HBO, what's that? WiFi? Hey, as long as the beds have "Magic Fingers", I'm good.

Howsabout the "Downtowner"? I love this photo, it is almost looks like Pop Art - maybe an Ed Ruscha painting. At least we know that the Downtowner has a swimming pool.

From July 1963 comes this impressive sing for King's Motel. A telephone in every room, holy moly! "Chinese American" dining room and cocktail lounge, sounds OK to me. I am already looking forward to my free breakfast. Wish I knew where this was.

One might assume that the Quality Courts Motel of Mount Vernon (circa August 1966) would be located in Virginia, near George Washington's famous home. But, as it turns out, there are a number of Mount Vernons around the country. New York, Ohio, Illinois, Washington, Iowa, Indiana, and so on. This huge sign was meant to be noticed, it seems to be a cousin to the beloved Holiday Inn "great signs".


Nanook said...


These are wonderful images. The rakish angle of the Downtowner Motor Inn is quite flattering. I see that Wayne King (known as The Waltz King) was playing at the Policemens Ball.

I located a blurb in the January 16, 1974 issue of the St. Petersbug Times mentioning that the Wayne King Orchestra would be playing at this year's Fraternal Order of Police Ball, on March 2nd, at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium - which if they say so themselves... is a popular affair. However - as I spy a Corvair in the parking lot, I'm thinking this is merely a coincidence.

All the pictures are swell, and makes me long for the days when each hotel chain would have their own "scents" for their cleaning products, etc. I remember them all quite well. Thanks, Major.

Nancy said...

So pretty! I am loving the cars along with those signs and the strip malls across the street from numbers 2 and 3. Loved going to Kmart for back to school shopping back in the 60s and 70s!

Thanks for these beauties today, Major :-)

Alonzo P Hawk said...

TV AND FM radio. Now they are just spoiling people. Can't imagine both, you would be on sensory overload. Cool old pics, love these kind of places. I stayed at the Glass Pool Inn in Las Vegas years ago (another classic dive motel). They have a cheesiness that is hard to match. Now I am hungry for diner food. Blue plate special of course.

K. Martinez said...

I love all the concrete that is the Downtowner image. It must be 1960s urbanism. I see two plants in the whole pic.

The Quality Courts sunburst sign is black from 5 to 6 0'clock. Calling all car experts! What make are the three vehicles parked in front of Quality Courts Motel sign? These are great! Thanks for posting, Major.

Nanook said...

@ K. Martinez-

Let's try these, moving from right to left: A 1958 Lincoln (possibly a Continental model); a 1965 Ford; and unless someone else corrects me, a 1964 Oldsmobile.

Melissa said...

If I was going to call my joint something with "Quality" in the name, I'd make sure my whole sun was working! But I love all the detail in that picture, like the lovely old Kmart tucked behind the Esso station on the right. I love the font they used on their signs in those days.

For some reason, the pool at the Downtowner looks more coffin-shaped to me than the shield shape I'm sure it's intended to be.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Oh no, the whole "sun" is working. The 'black' section represents the short sections of a ribbon - blue, perhaps. And it is illuminated. You just need to return at night to get the full effect. We're talkin' "quality", here.

Agree completely about the 'coffin-shaped' pool. (Has someone spotted the life guard-??)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I am unfamiliar with Wayne King. Too bad he isn't the Polka King, THEN I would be interested. The "Downtowner" photo is from 1968, so it must be a coincidence that Mr. King was playing another Policemen's Ball - although it is very possible that this is from St. Petersburg, as I have some other images from that town.

Nancy, I'm sure that at the time, nobody would ever believe that folks in the future would enjoy looking at photos of a bunch of motels!

Alonzo, what if they played "Twister" while watching TV and playing their FM radios? "Glass Pool Inn", the name makes me think that there are shards of glass at the bottom of the pool.

K. Martinez, why would anybody want plants when they can have an ice machine and a 12 foot long pool? I have NO IDEA what those cars are....

Nanook, we'll see if K. Martinez confirms your guesses!

Melissa, as long as the beds have "magic fingers", it is a quality inn. I once found a toe in a hotel room, which makes it even more qualitationmous.

Nanook again, except for my last visit to Vegas, I can't recall ever seeing a life guard at a swimming pool.

K. Martinez said...

@Nanook -

Thanks and answering my question about the cars. I do like the 1965 Ford. And thanks for the answer on the 'black' section of the sun sign. I was commenting on it as well and thought it was broken. Always something new to learn.

CoxPilot said...

I think the car to the far right is a 1961 buick lesabre. Although, the tail lights have vertical chrome strips, and one would usually see that on the convertibles. The others are as Nanook said. The Lincoln IS a continental.

CoxPilot said...

I ment to say that the Buick is the one to the left. Oppps!

Nanook said...

@ CoxPilot-

Now that feels better - it is most-assuredly a 1961 Buick LeSabre. Thanks.

Melissa said...

I once found a toe in a hotel room

Holy crud! I hope it was at least a magic toe!

The only time I ever tried magic fingers was at a motel called The Alamo in Niagara Falls. It was more like magic fists, and literally knocked me off the bed at one point. Right at this moment, I'm very glad I didn't check under there for body parts.

Nanook said...

@ Major-

Ah, yes - the "Polka King". Although I'm certain many in the 'polka field' would love that credit for themselves, however it most-surely belongs to Frankie Yankovic. (With no relation to "Weird Al" Yankovic).

And as for... I once found a toe in a hotel room..., do tell-!! Inquiring minds want to know more.

Melissa said...

And this is where we'll all probably end up staying next time:

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
Only if it has a wave machine-!

Snow White Archive said...

There could be a whole blog dedicated to vintage motel signs. In fact, I'm sure there is somewhere.